Saturday afternoon I was sitting at the dining room table, minding my own business and listening to the rain pour down. I couldn't see it because I had to close all the doors and windows to keep the water from blowing in and drowning my house.
Once the downpour had turned to a drizzle, I went to the front door and opened it. Let there be light and air flow once again! As I was standing there, looking out and watching the rivers run from the street down onto the beach and out to sea, I heard a pop and saw a flash.
The next thing I saw was a great plume of black smoke coming from somewhere over in front of the cabana. My neighbors quite often build a fire in front of their house and at first I though they were burning something. Then it dawned on me that they could not have a fire going in this rain.
That thought had just barely crossed my mind when I saw huge flames shooting out of the glass electric meter that belongs to my cabana next door! I ran through the house shouting, "Fire! Fire!", rudely waking up those amongst us who were peacefully taking a siesta. I knew it was an electric fire so I grabbed a towel from the bathroom. I guess I thought I could run over there and smother the flames.
By the time I reached it, the flames were gone and only wisps of hot, smelly smoke remained. Naturally, we have renters in the cabana right now and they came running out also, having heard the same pop and seen the smoke and flames. Amazingly, they still had power!
This is where the meter was installed in the wall.
And the meter itself. Amazing that it still functioned as well as it did!
I called my electrician, but he was away for the day, not to return until Sunday. He is such a good guy that when he got my message, he called me back and said he would be right over. Which he was.
Something about only the neutral rod had been damaged in the fire and then it overloaded the positive, causing the renters to lose all power this morning around 4AM.
Mr Electrician rewired the system into the main grid, bypassing any need for a meter. So I won't be charged for any electricity the next day or so. He is coming back tomorrow with a new meter and will install it and everything should be back to normal. I told him that if I wasn't being charged for electricity in the meantime, there was no hurry. He just laughed.
And what caused the fire? Water and salt. All that white stuff you see above on the meter is salt. Water from rains ran down the wall, got into the salt compromised seal and caused a short.
An interesting side note about Mexico and why I did not call the electric company. Although they provide the meters free of charge, it is the home owner's responsibility to install them and keep them in service. They would not have responded to my call at all, even if the thing was still burning. That sort of thing can be frustrating, to say the least.